Monday, February 09, 2009

Sweet Success II

When one sets out to achieve a monumental goal, like eliminating sugar from one’s diet for a month, one feels the urge to report on one’s progress in the condescending tone of one who overuses the word “one.” So, those of you who are addicted to éclairs, chocolate orange sticks, smooth Swiss chocolates, Milk Duds, etc. let me tell you how you too can be sugar-free.

February 1 began well, and I was the perfect example of sugar-free martyrdom. I had taken brownies out to share with the family in Utah. But most of the family in Utah never saw the brownies because I opened the container in the presence of my pregnant daughter, and she decided that a little chocolate in the bloodstream would be a good thing for all those relying on her bloodstream for flavor and nutrition. Her husband also decided to put some chocolate in his bloodstream. So did my wife. But I was iron-willed and refused to think about the brownies, their sweet scent filling the air and the vision of the little chocolate chips sprinkled with care on top and how the bottom was smooth and gooey. To shift my attention away from the brownies, I decided to drool a lot.

For dinner that evening we ate a wonderful meatloaf, baked potato, and some . . . uhm . . . banana bread—fresh from the oven. Now, I don’t know whether or not the banana bread contained any sugar, and like the wise attorney defending an axe murder, I didn’t ask for specific details. I just made the assumption that the banana bread might well have been made from unusually sweet bananas. So I had a piece to test this theory. I couldn’t tell from tasting one piece so I ate . . . uhm . . . several pieces. I could tell that the bread contained bananas and wheat, both of which are very good for you. But I don’t know for sure why it tasted sweet.

The next morning, Groundhogs Day, I began the day by reading the ingredients of breakfast cereal and then made the much healthier choice of eating several more pieces of the banana bread made from unusually sweet bananas. There is not a finer breakfast unless it’s the French Toast I made the following morning all covered with maple syrup, which is actually a “natural” and therefore healthy product made from the sap of trees.

I continued my fastidiousness for the next few days without incident, except for that incident at Wendys. We were in a hurry to leave town to drive back home, so we drove through the drive-through (a.k.a. drive-thru) and ordered 1 chicken club, 1 chicken something else, and 1 spicy chicken sandwich. My spicy chicken caused a bit of uproar, Utah apparently being a state where no one ever eats spicy chicken. They told me to go park and they would bring it out to me after they cooked it. So I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Eventually I walked over to the drive-thru window and inquired about my spicy chicken sandwich. They had forgotten all about it, so after six spontaneous and animated Spanish conversations subsided for a moment, I told them that a chicken club would be fine.

So, they gave me my chicken club and as a gesture of corporate altruism, they handed me a Frosty as an apology. What was I to do? One doesn’t accept a Frosty and then chuck it into the trash. They might see this shameful act and become bitter toward their customers, changing their policy of handing out free Frostys when they make the occasional el goofo grande. So, I had no choice. I ate the Frosty, but out of devotion to my sugar-free goal, I let my wife have some.

Now I’m back home where I have a better routine to help me achieve my month-without-sugar goal. And it’s going well. Today I ate a peanut butter and honey (I used honey instead of sugar) sandwich for breakfast. Then I took an apple to work. When, later in the evening, my wife offered me cake, I refused the temptation, although once a cake has passed its prime it’s really not a temptation.

Things were going well. It’s nice to achieve your goals. Several more days passed without incident, which was no fun at all.
Then on the 8th, my resolution was tested. It’s nice to have one’s resolution tested because it gives one a sense of one’s resolve. So, I crashed a church pot luck lunch, an event famous for sugary desserts. And there they were. Did I win the battle? Yes!! I’m proud to announce, I abstained. I went mainly for the chili in the crock pot instead and ate a filling meal.
When I got home I decided to make cookies, not only to test my resolve, but because I needed to send some to my son. I mixed up the dough and baked a few dozen cookies, and did I win the battle? Of course not. I’m mortal. I ate a couple of cookies to make sure they were worth sending to my son . . . and a lot of cookie dough to make sure it tasted like cookie dough ought to taste.

You might think that this was a major defeat, but the way I look at it is, I used honey instead of sugar, and honey is a natural substance made by bees, and it contains vitamins. So I’m not considering it sugar.

You (both of you) who read this blog may think that I’ve deviated some from a sugar free diet, but in the famous words of Henry V, “The game’s afoot, and I’d kill right now for a few éclairs.” The key thing is that in the last nine days, I’ve lost five pounds. I’ll bet you disbelieve that dropping sugar from your diet causes significant weight loss. And you are right.

Diet books are published every day, but they’re written to make their authors fat. The best way I’ve found to lose weight is to catch the flu. I don’t have the flu, but I caught a cold, possible the one my daughter had. And a cold is basically the flu without the constant thought (or hope) that you might die. It’s a micro-flu, and it does wonders to cut the appetite for everything except cookie dough.

The next question is, how does one celebrate making it half through a month sugar-free without consuming chocolate?

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